Monday, January 7, 2013

Cutting Through the Myths



It took a great deal of courage and a few months of preparation for me to post this. It's is meant to be educational and unoffensive so I hope that's what you take from it.  Secondly, I want to remind everyone that this is my blog.  You were not forced here and you are free to leave at any moment. I will apologize in advance for any "snark" that you feel is conveyed in my writing.  Again, this is my blog and this is how I write.

  Feel free to share or pin if you enjoy it and think others could benefit from reading it.

  Any negative comments will be deleted. 

Everywhere you look, you'll find arguments all over social media sites about parenting.  Some call these the "mommy wars."  I'll agree, some of these arguments are pointless and a "to each their own" battle that nobody will ever win. 

However, there are some of these that should have a winning side.  There are some of these that when I read, I want to slam my head into a wall and scream "WHY DON'T YOU GET IT!?!"

One of these is circumcision.

Routine infant circumcision to be more specific.

For those of you who are unaware of what RIC is, it simply means a circumcision (removal of the foreskin) in a child, usually a neonate (baby younger than 28 days), without a cause- essentially.

After watching these so-called mommy wars take place over days and months and years, I have compiled a list of the most common arguments, and my (factual) responses to them.


Ridiculous argument 1
- A circumcised penis is cleaner than an intact penis.


Valid argument 1- How is having a newborn sit in a feces and urine filled diaper with an open wound "cleaner" than one with his entire penis intact?

Ridiculous argument 2- Intact penises get infected too often.


Valid argument 2- Our ears get infected but you don't see people opting to chop them off at birth because of it. Ingrown toenails-ouch! Should we start routine toenail removal at birth too?

Ridiculous argument 3- Circumcision reduces the risk of STD's

Valid argument 3
- The foreskin contains/consists of specialized cells called Langerhans cells. These are a main component of the immune system. The risk of STDs is actually lower with an intact penis because of these special disease fighting cells that are not found in the circumcised penis. And people shouldn't have to worry about an STD if they are having safe, responsible sex, regardless of what their penis looks like.


Ridiculous argument 4- Circumcision will prevent urinary tract infections.

Valid argument 4- UTIs are far more rampant in woman than in men...
The cure is called antibiotics, not cosmetic surgery.  I can count on, uh...zero hands, just how many times I've seen a woman get circumcised for a UTI.


Ridiculous argument 5- The baby won't remember it, so do it while they are young.

Valid argument 5- Women get date raped all the time. They don't remember because they were drugged...so since they won't remember it, does that make it okay to do?  Also, newborn MRIs vs an MRI of a baby who has had a circumcision, have proven in fact, that babies DO remember the pain.

Ridiculous argument 6- You can't compare it to female circumcision, that's just wrong!

Valid argument 6- What is the difference between FGM (female genital mutilation)  and MGM (male genital mutilation)? One is legal and one is not? Well, until the mid 90s, female circumcision was legal too.  With that said, if you are a woman born before 1997 and you have your genitals intact, call your parents and thank them.

Ridiculous argument 7- Calling it mutilation is just stupid and being over dramatic.

Valid argument 7-  Mutilation: an injury that causes disfigurement or that deprives you of a limb or other important body part.

Seems like a pretty accurate description, as by-the-book as possible if you ask me.


Ridiculous argument 8- It's easier to clean!


Valid argument 8- I'm sure it would be easier to clean my vulva if they'd snip it, then again, I'm not lazy and an extra 10 seconds in the shower is not the end of the world to me. The only thing that makes it easier to clean is because it's less surface area.  It is even easier to clean as a child because the foreskin has not retracted so you just wipe the tip of it.

Ridiculous argument 9- It's just a little bit of extra skin.

Valid argument 9
- In the average adult male, the foreskin is equivalent to a 3x5 inch section of skin. That's a lot of skin and sensitivity lost. Do you know how many nerve endings there are in the male prepuce? Over 20,000. The clitoris, most sensitive of the female body, has only 8,000. These are fine touch receptors similar to those found in fingertips, lips, etc. And we cut them off like they mean nothing. You ever wonder why erectile dysfunction is an epidemic among the baby boomers age when circumcision became popular? Viagra salesmen LOVE circumcision!
Which leads me to....
 

Ridiculous argument 10- There are no real sexual side effects.

Valid argument 10- The penile frenulum connects the foreskin to the underside of the head of the penis. It's often referred to as "the male G spot" because of its high concentration of nerve endings that react to touch and the stretching and relaxation that occurs as the foreskin glides back and forth over the shaft and head of the penis during sex. The penis is large enough as an adult, that during circumcision, the frenulum is fairly easy to save. However, because of how imprecise the procedure is as a newborn, with no actual medical standards to go by, how much, or where cuts are made, infant circumcisions almost ALWAYS leads to the amputation of the frenulum.
 The foreskin is the ONLY movable part of the penis, as is the intended design of nature/God/whatever you believe. The intact penis is a dynamic sexual organ because of its movable foreskin. The circumcised penis has no moving parts and is a static organ, just pounding away. During sex (with an intact penis), the foreskin glides up and down the shaft of the penis and over the flared edge of the head of the penis. The foreskin and glans stimulate each other during the gliding motion. The frenulum, like the foreskin, also is full of thousands of nerve endings, so this stimulation is also very pleasurable.  I will save the MANY differences that women feel, for another day.

Ridiculous argument 11- It's a simple, quick, SAFE procedure.

Valid argument 11
- With a circumcision performed in infancy, and a doctor just guesstimating how much to cut off, lots of times it leaves a penis with too much skin for the desired effect, but more often than not, it leaves a penis (in adulthood) that has had too much cut away, make full erections tight and painful. 1 in 10 circumcisions is botched and needs secondary surgery or cannot be fixed. Over 55% of circumcisions result in at least some form of complications. 

SAFE?? 115+ neonates die from circumcision each year. That's more than double the number that die from suffocation (44), car accidents (8), and drop side cribs combined...and yet all of those cribs were recalled.

Ridiculous argument 12- It looks nicer.

Valid argument 12- My first response is...Of course it does, if you like a dried up, calloused penis. If you've ever looked at pictures or seen in person the difference in an intact penis and one that was circumcised at birth, you'll see that the head of the penis looks "moist" or lubricated in an intact one. 


This isn't to make anyone feel guilty or bad about themselves, it's just the fact that circumcised penises just don't "look" how they are supposed to be, usually at no fault to its owner. And let's get serious...since when were genitals made to be "attractive." If you're spending that much time staring at it, then you're doing it wrong ;) The foreskin preserves the natural male lubricants that keep the internal parts of the penis responsive to sensual stimulation, and aids in its own movements, as well as reduces chafing and abrasion during sex. This is taken away by routine circumcision. The meatus (the hole a man pees from) in the intact penis is usually a long slit that, when compressed by a finger or under pressure of urinating, becomes a wide opening. When a penis has been circumcised from infancy, it's had no foreskin for protection, causing the meatus to narrow over time.  This happens mostly because of exposed urine, diapers, and underwear rubbing it all day, restricting urine flow and sometimes causing UTIs.  And they say that circumcision PREVENTS UTIs...hmmm.

 On second thought, if intact penises became the norm here like they are in all of the other developed countries in the world, maybe our views of what is attractive and what isn't, would change.


Ridiculous argument 13- Circumcision reduces penile cancer.

Valid argument 13-  I am going to skip right over the part where that has been disproven time and again and just say this... When was the last time you saw a baby having their breast buds removed to prevent breast cancer later on?  What about ovarian cancer? Should we just perform hysterectomies at birth? Since when is it okay to remove any normal, perfectly functioning body part, and then hope and pray that it prevents cancer down the line?  Answer: It's not.   

Ridiculous argument 14- I want him to look like his daddy.

Valid argument 14- That's great! We spend hours fantasizing during pregnancy over whose nose, eye color, and hair type our baby will come out with.  It's normal. But let me let you in on a little secret...
Your child, no matter what, will not be a clone.  It just doesn't work that way.  And I don't know about you, but I have no clue what my mother's vulva looks like- not to mention, I heard they are like snowflakes, no two are alike.  With that said, most little boys don't really know what their daddy's genitals look like either.  But what about potty training, you might ask? Sure, maybe they will catch a glance here and there.  I can assure you this...any two year old child looking at their daddy's "privates" are not going to notice whether or not he has more or less skin on the end. They are going to notice that daddy has big privates and daddy has icky hair.

Ridiculous argument 15- I am not the one with the penis, so I left the decision up to my husband.

Valid argument 15- You may not have a penis, but luckily it doesn't take a penis to stand up against what is morally right.  It's simple as that.  You don't have to let anyone harm your child.

Ridiculous argument 16- I don't want him to get made fun of.

Valid argument 16- Kids are mean.   No matter where you go or how great of a school your child attends, you'll always find bullies.  Kids get made fun of their clothes, their glasses, their hair, and their skin.  You name it, it's a topic.  When was the last time you saw on the news that a parent had their child's freckles surgically removed because she was bullied over it?  It doesn't happen. Bullying sucks.  It does.  But we don't give our kids lap band surgery because someone called them fat.  We teach them how to deal with bullies without changing themselves.

I will also add that since the circumcision rates are RAPIDLY declining, chances are, the kids getting made fun of in the school bathrooms in a few years (and no I do not condone this), will be ones with parts of their penis missing. 


I am not against circumcision, I am against routine infant circumcision.
  Big difference. If a grown man wants to cut off a 3 inch by 5inch section of skin from his penis, more power to him, at least he was able to make that choice. NOBODY should be able to make the choice for anyone else.

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You can read more about circumcision here:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Have you ever hated someone...?

Have you ever hated someone so much that the mere thought of his/her existence makes you physically ill?

Well, if you're a Christian, you haven't!

Okay don't stop reading just yet, I'm kidding.

With everything lost in translation, I've had a hard time figuring out where in the Bible it says you can't hate those who have done unthinkable permanent damage to your life and to your children.  I know we aren't "supposed to" hate, but surely there has got to be some sort of exception in times like these...right?  I mean, I'm right...right?  Somewhere in Psalms (yes I'm too lazy to pinpoint it right now...it's after midnight and I'm tired so just bear with me), it says "Let those who love the Lord hate evil."  So I guess we're clear, I can definitely hate evil people.

Ahh, again it's probably just an excuse.  It's times like these I wish I could just call God up and ask Him how I'm supposed to feel...is my anger and hatred justified?  Of course I would say yes, but would He?  I've done enough of the "love your enemy" shenanigans and I can't anymore.  How anyone could love THAT is beyond me.

As I lay here cuddling my sweet baby girl (as she coughs in my face...thanks Kaylee!), I wonder how anyone could be so horribly selfish and evil.  Hey look, there's that word again.  This little girl is the absolute most amazing kid in the world.  I may be a little biased, but I doubt it ;)  I could never leave her, I would NEVER ever leave her.  He can't say the same.

I hate Dan, for everything he's done to me, but more importantly my kids. Someone told me the other day that I needed to try to be indifferent instead which apparently is worse somehow (who knows)...but I can't, I hate him...and I hate that I do.  I'm not a bitter and angry person, except now, I am.  And apparently all of this bitterness and anger made me into a person who rambles and doesn't make sense ;) 

How long does it take for the hate to go away?  Am I going to magically wake up one day and be like "oh everything is better, I'm fine!"

It takes time, they say.  You'll get over it, they say. Time heals all wounds, they say.  Well ya know what I say, THEY must not have ever been through this.

They must not have ever had the love of their life walk out on their family without even looking back.  They must not have ever heard the horrible, evil, gut-wrenching things come out of the mouth of the one who was supposed to be there "for better or worse."  They must never have been cheated on for weeks and led on to believe everything was fine.  They must have never had their spouse lie and lie and lie and lie.  They must never have woken up from dreams multiple times a week crying because everything was perfect again and it felt so real.  And people wonder why I stay up all night...

I've been alone for over a year now.

For more than a year, I have struggled emotionally, financially, and even physically at times.  I am exhausted and I am weak.  I hurt and I cry...and I do it a lot. 

I could never have imagined how hard it would be to be alone...and to be alone with 3 kids.  He wouldn't know.  Not many people do.

As hard as it is to walk in the shoes I've been handed, I would not be where I am now if it weren't for people from church.  Of all people who knew my situation, I can only think of a handful who encouraged me to fight for my marriage, and who told me that only I would know when it was time to give up.  I never once did.  I fought til the very last day...and yet sometimes I still wonder if I did enough.  When you are in that situation, you know something needs to be done, but you don't know what that something is.  Some people figure it out, and they win.  Apparently I didn't find the answer.  But no matter what, I know that I tried, and at least in that aspect, there are no regrets. Twenty years down the road and I won't have to wonder if I gave it my all.

Is it hard to see the person that I thought I'd spend my life with, just erase every last detail and reminder of us from his life?  Being told that he deleted every single one of our family pictures, pictures of just us, Facebook statuses about his "amazing wife," pictures of my children... and replaced them with condescending argumentative posts and friend requests to all of his ex-girlfriends, acting as though we never existed? If anyone looked at his page, they'd have a hard time seeing that he ever married or reproduced- I mean, aside from the handful of pictures of Kaylee as an infant (the last time he was even involved in her life) and the few screen shots he took of her (while she sat there trying to figure out who the heck he was), from the only time he's asked to skype with her in a year.  Is it hard to see him going from a family man to a little boy whose biggest obsession (aside from lying), is a piece of plastic with a tailpipe?  You bet.

Does it suck how many times he's been in contempt of court orders and is bragging about how he found a renter for the house of ours that he was ordered to sell (and split the profits with me) or that he can apparently sit around all day just reading through music lyrics because he has no real responsibilities?  Does it suck that with all the free time he has, he hasn't even, since he left, just picked up the phone and called to see if he could talk to Kaylee? (okay one time, more about that in a second)  It sure does.

Dan came to visit Kaylee for the first time in more than 9 months, a month ago to this day.  He spent a few hours with her at my home over the weekend and then left with our car.  She cried when he left.  Part of me wishes I could say that she was crying over him, but she wasn't.  As he pulled out of the driveway, leaving us without a vehicle, Kaylee cried "no! mine! carrr!!!"  She has no clue who he is.  Why would anyone expect to randomly pop in for a few hours and actually be recognized? Yes, she called him daddy when instructed, just like she'd call Bob, Tom, and Sue by their names. She doesn't know that there is a meaning behind the word "daddy."

My beautiful little girl does not have one.

The evening after he left, we received a phone call from him, asking if he could tell Kaylee good night. She talked on the phone a few minutes and was in a great mood.

When I hung up, I thought "wow, this is it, he's going to step up and be in her life"

It's been a month since she's heard from him, not even a call to see what she was going to be for Halloween or to ask for a picture of her trick or treating. I should have known it was too good to be true.

I can't go a few hours without seeing Kaylee, how on earth someone could choose to go months without even speaking to their kid is beyond me.

And now, for the part that I've written in bits and pieces over the past 6 months...

A letter to Dan's parents that I will never end up sending

You know, I really wish things would have ended up differently.  4 years ago, nobody could have convinced me that I would have gone through the hell that I have endured the past 13 months. Maybe had all of your family not condoned Dan's actions, or taken such an impartial stance, this wouldn't have happened. Maybe if things hadn't been so one sided and I had to fight alone.  Maybe if his pride didn't keep him from sucking it up and apologizing. Who knows. 

What I do know is that it's sad that Kaylee will grow up not knowing you all, when the only thing I ever wanted for her was to have a close-knit family.  It's been almost a year and a half since any of you have seen her.  You should see her blue eyes and blonde curls, the way she walks and talks, her sassy little attitude.  She is the most awesome little girl that you don't even have the privilege of knowing, and by choice at that. However, I see she (as well as Avery and Malachi) has/have long been replaced by Hilary's kids, as it's been made amply clear.

If Malachi did to his wife and kids what Dan did, I would not have been talking to him all the time acting like things are great.  No, I would have been calling my daughter-in-law and grandkids to make sure they are okay.  THEY would be my priority, not a man that selfishly abandoned them.  You can't say you care, but let your actions show otherwise.  I have not gotten any bit of support from you all in about 10 months.  As a matter of fact, it's been quite the opposite with the things your family has said to me via social networking sites.  Apparently, being a coward and contacting me through Facebook or my blog to twist the knife and blame me is the cool thing to do.  When was the last time ANY of you have called to check on Kaylee (or Avery and Malachi), or even myself?  With her being the only grandchild in the family, one would THINK that she would be important enough to check on.

 There is nobody to blame but your own son.  I cannot stress that enough.

The last time I spoke to you, Maggie, you told me that Dan didn't leave Kaylee, he left me.  Each time I replay those words in my head, I want to scream.  What an absolutely ignorant statement.  Dan DID leave his daughter.  Any "man" and I use that term very, VERY loosely, who cheats on his wife, has the audacity to blame her for his actions as some lame attempt at a justification, and walks out on his family without looking back, refusing to go to church and refusing reconciliation and counseling because he can't swallow his pride and admit he screwed up, has LEFT his daughter.  There is no way to sugar-coat it.  I am sure it hurts knowing the son that you tried so hard to raise to be an upstanding contribution to society, can screw up so royally and hurt so many people. And I'm sorry, I really am.  It doesn't mean you failed, it means he made his own choices. What it does not mean, is that you need to be making excuses for him and condoning his actions.

Another thing that really bothered me is that you told me I could have gone to Texas too so that Kaylee could be close to him. Really?  I mean, REALLY??  Do you really expect me to say "oh honey it's okay, cheat on me when I trust you, spit in my face when I say I still love you and want to honor my commitment to you and God and work it out after your month+ long affair, leave your family without a penny or a phone call only days after saying you can't wait to come home and spend the next 3 years together...but I'll follow you like a little puppy just so you can see the daughter you don't care about whenever you want and I'll watch on the sidelines as you find more random women to sleep around with while I am busy raising 3 kids alone."  Ha...Ha...HA, yeah...right. It doesn't work that way, you can't have your cake and eat it too.  To suggest I do something like that for him is absolutely absurd.  Then again, if that's the position you take, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, now does it?

I do not owe him anything.  I do not have any reason to follow him around the country where we are supposed to be living as a family.  Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. He didn't try to see her when he was 10 minutes away from her, but yeah, I'll pack up and leave the only "home" and "family" I have now and struggle in a new place alone, just so he can have the perks of being a father without actually having to put forth any effort to be a dad.

It must be nice to be the parent who gets to party it up every night, watch TV all day, sleep in on the weekends, have zero responsibilities as an adult, and never pick up a phone to see how your kid is. What a life.

I wouldn't know.  There is no such thing as a part-time parent, you're full-time or you aren't one at all.

Your son falls into the latter category.

It's sad that even with Dan paying thousands of dollars for a lawyer to screw us over when he knew I couldn't afford one (still really wish that you would have told me who gave him the money- guess that's none of my business though I'm sure), a judge was still able to see through him and the horrible things he did, and award him with the absolute bare minimum that he could possibly get, in terms of personal property, money, and "rights" to see Kaylee.  I had spoken to quite a few lawyers and they were completely SHOCKED.  Colorado is very pushy on co-parenting and everything split right down the middle...so in one of their exact words, "[He] (judge) must have hated him."

In the end, I'd love to know what all he said to you to make you still want to welcome him home with open arms because *I* could never, especially as a Christian, turn a blind eye to everything that he did to people he "loved" and "cared" so much for.  His actions and words speak for themselves though.  Oh but I take that back, I have heard what he told you.  And I'm guessing you believe it?  Sad.  I mean, why wouldn't you believe him? Everything else he did clearly shows that he would tell you the truth when it came time to make an excuse for screwing over his family Had he been in a miserable or loveless marriage (as if either are of those are excuses for his actions), it would have shown in our relationship, our texts and emails.  Had I cheated on him 2 years prior, like I have heard from numerous people that it is his latest excuse/reasoning for leaving (actually quite laughable), he would've left a long time ago.  Oh yes, I've heard the story he's given people...the oh so very skewed fictional story that I know you've heard as well. I can guarantee you it isn't true...and I'm sure one day he may very well tell you the truth because I don't know how long he can live a lie.  I can ALMOST understand how you could believe him when he says we had a bad marriage.  He is a good liar after all.  He had me convinced that I was crazy for thinking he was cheating on me, and then I found all the phone records.  He had me convinced he was truly remorseful when he sat on the phone crying "I don't know why you still love me, I am such a horrible person!" only for him to decide he wasn't going to stop calling the other girl.  He is very manipulative. 

A while back, I was on Youtube earlier looking at my "friends" and I forgot we were Youtube friends because of the songs he would record for me. Anyway, I clicked on his name, reminiscing about those old videos, and ended up on his feed.

Very very interesting.

  This is a rap video with nothing, literally nothing, but racial slurs and expletives, Dan commented a few months ago: Get it grrrrrl - I like it bro - good flow!!

In this video, your child gets into an argument via comments with another stranger and says:

"Hey retard, do some research. It was a completely independent design after the German (not Nazi) combined cold-war effort failed. Your language is offensive and your brain-power is minimal.The proper vernacular is "you're" - it's a conjunction of "you" and "are". I didn't google it, I live it on a daily basis. The MBT-70 was based on German/American designs, but the project was scrapped. When the M1 prototype came out (aka the XM1), an AMERICAN design by the AMERICAN company Chrysler, it was built from the ground up. As a miscellaneous character in some arbitrary show often says, "Your mother should have swallowed you." "

Are you proud yet?

Or how about this?

Ever heard of Jenna Marbles, the girl Dan is subscribed to? No? I'll share a couple of videos with you that Dan has commented on (oh don't worry, there are more if you'd like to see for yourself).  I mean, come on, who doesn't enjoy watching videos of a girl half naked that using the "f" word 10 times in each sentence, who apparently only has life experience with sex and alcohol?  Oh you don't find that enjoyable? Yeah, me neither.  Too bad.  This video is full of blatant sexual references and is laced with profanity, but that doesn't stop him from commenting on it about how awesome she is.

Yes, oh so completely awesome. Too bad we all can't be as trashy.  If I could only be as "awesome" as she is, maybe we'd still be married.

Or this one he comments on where she talks about how she's a "whore" and shoots an entire video of herself in numerous bikinis?

Keepin' it classy!

He really fooled you all into thinking he was some great Christian man with strong morals, didn't he?  Don't worry, I fell for it too.

I'm sure that's all you ever wanted in a son.  I'm confident seeing him "like" pictures of half naked (well moreso) girls on Facebook makes you so grateful to see that he's walking the path you wanted for him. I mean, I can't imagine how awesome I'd think my son was for leaving his family and never even contacting his child.  What a great addition to your family.  I bet you're proud :)

PS.  Maybe Nicky can learn from big brother's mistakes.  Hopefully he wrote her a "how not to screw up your marriage" book for his wedding gift to her.  Give them my congrats, it's unfortunate her niece couldn't make it...or wasn't even invited.


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Three things cannot be long hidden: The Sun, The Moon and The Truth." -Buddha










Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lap Rockets


Most, if not all, airlines allow children under the age of 2 to fly for free if they are seated with an adult.  The term for these children is "lap baby."

It's easy to see how one would assume that since it is allowed, it is safe.

But it's not.

There is nothing magical about the age 2 that makes your child suddenly need to be properly restrained.  ALL children should be restrained by a car seat at all times in a moving vehicle: bus, plane, or car/taxi.

The FAA even recommends that all children under 40lbs use a car seat:

(These are the bare minimums.  The law of physics doesn't stop just because you are 30,000 feet in the air. You can always rearface your 20lb+ child)

When faced with a decision on whether or not to buy an infant his own ticket on the airplane, the majority of parents I have spoken to responded with something along the lines of: 

"If the plane crashes, a car seat won't save him"

OR

"Plane crashes are extremely rare- traveling by plane is much safer than by car"

These are both true.  If a plane drops out of the sky at an altitude of 30,000 feet, everyone will be dead.  Luckily, this is extremely rare.

However, runway crashes, turbulence, and hard landings are NOT rare, and they CAN and will kill a child not in a safety seat.


If you think your child needs to be restrained in a car traveling 25mph, but not in an airplane taking off at 180mph, then you my friend...are a hypocrite.

A runway crash or extreme turbulence is the same as a car crash, except going up to 5-6x faster.  At 180mph, your "lap child" becomes your own personal airbag, IF you are lucky. Otherwise, they become a projectile flying through the cabin. Your 25lb toddler, at 180mph, has 4500lbs of force to them.  Any person they hit is more than likely to be killed instantly, in addition to being fatal to themselves.

During a flight, there is only one thing not required to be properly restrained.


Can you figure out which one??



It's actually none of these.  You see, the only thing on a plane not required to be properly restrained is: 



A child under the age of 2.


Pretty sad that a pot of coffee and a bag of airline snacks has more priority than your child.  Every single person on a plane must be buckled, every item: laptops, plane trays, food carts, carry-on luggage etc MUST be properly restrained during take off, landing, and when there are any signs of turbulence...but a CHILD, a delicate, fragile CHILD can be left to sit in a lap.

Makes sense now, doesn't it? **sarcasm**

Turbulence can occur at any time during a flight without warning.  It can be severe enough that people, food carts and unsecured luggage are thrown several rows, hit the ceilings, or other passengers.  Because of this, unless you are using the rest room, you should always fasten your seatbelt and your child should *ALWAYS* be in the their car seat.

In the off chance that your child survives being thrown around like a rag doll when the airplane hits unexpected turbulence or a hard emergency landing and the plane is evacuated, it can be difficult to find your child during the mass hysteria.  Your child could also be trampled if vision is impaired due to the cabin being filled with smoke.

Is this risk really worth the cost of a plane ticket?

Should your child not be given the same priority as you are, in terms of safety?

 If this wasn't enough to change your mind....

Things to remember when flying with a child:

1. IT'S EASIER TO PURCHASE A TICKET! Sit on a couch for two hours holding your child.  Only get up to use the bathroom, and make sure to take your child with you when you do.  Try drinking from an open cup with nowhere to set the drink down (because you can't use a tray with a lap child).  Now try sitting on the couch with your child near you in a bouncer, exersaucer etc. When the child is asleep, you have time for yourself and can relax a little bit.  You can get up and use the restroom in peace.  Which sounds more pleasant?

2. CHECKING YOUR CAR SEAT AS LUGGAGE IS THE SAME AS CRASHING YOUR CAR WITH IT INSTALLED.  I'll assume you've already read my blogs about crashed car seats so I'll elaborate on it.  Luggage handlers do not care about your property.  Most things get thrown to and from the conveyor belts to the plane. Not to mention, if the flight experiences turbulence, your car seat is being thrown around with the rest of the luggage, completely unrestrained. Since you will never know exactly what type of treatment your car seat has received, a "checked" car seat should always be considered "crashed."  You don't want to wait til you are in an actual wreck and the car seat fails to protect your child, to realize it was unsafe.

3. LUGGAGE GETS LOST ALL THE TIME.  Imagine if you did check your car seat instead of installing it on the plane.  You get to your destination and the seat doesn't come around the baggage claim conveyor.  You can't legally leave the airport now...so what do you do?

4. EACH PASSENGER IS ALLOWED BAGGAGE.  Just another perk to purchasing your child his/her own seat.  No more cramming everybody's stuff into one suitcase.

5. IF AFTER READING THIS BLOG, YOU STILL THINK THAT IT'S WORTH THE RISK RISK TO YOUR CHILD TO BE A LAP-ROCKET, REMEMBER IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU.  If your child becomes a projectile during a flight or hard landing, and manages to hurt or kill another person....let's just say that a $200 plane ticket is pocket change relative to how much you are going to be spending in court costs, law suits, etc.  Be prepared to give up your house, your car, basically every little thing you own.  Still worth it?

6. AIRLINES WILL WORK WITH YOU.  So you've booked the flight and your family is ready to go, then you read this and realize you want your child to have their own seat but you just can't afford it.  Call the airline. I can't stress that enough.  9 times out of 10 if you explain the situation, they will give an extra ticket at a steep discount, or even free.  No airline wants to see a lap rocket on their plane, they will do whatever it takes for everyone on the flight to be safe.

 *********************************************************************

I cannot count how many times I tried to explain the dangers of lap-rockets to somebody and they said they just couldn't afford another ticket.  Is your child's life really not worth an extra couple hundred dollars?? 

If you cannot afford a ticket for each passenger, then drive, or don't go at all.  

Please do not compromise your child's safety over something so trivial.

**********************************************************************

And the million dollar question:

WHY are lap-babies still legal if it's so unsafe?  (Because that's the logic here in America...it's legal so it must be safe)

The answer?

MONEY
MONEY MONEY MONEY MONEY

 

Although the NTSB is pushing to make lap rockets (as they refer to them) illegal, it's a long road ahead.  Airlines will lose too much money because less people will choose to fly places.  In a time where many airlines have gone bankrupt and needed bailouts, they can't afford to lose any more business.  Like stated above, the FAA does recommend all children be secured in their own seats.  It shouldn't have to be a law for parents to make their child's safety a priority.

Even if you don't read this entire post, please watch this video and think hard about your seating arrangements for your family's next flight.





Friday, June 8, 2012

Numb

For those of you who have kept up with the personal side of my blog...

I just wanted to say thank you for your support the past few months.



As of this morning, a judge granted my husband the divorce he requested.
All of my friends keep calling and texting asking how I am doing or feeling...

How do you respond to something like that?  Dead. Hurt. Numb. Broken.

When it was all said and done, I cried...

and cried...

and cried...

until I felt like I had nothing left.


And then I was numb.

It didn't really hit me that it was over until after midnight tonight, but then it did, (hit that is- like a ton of bricks).  This is really happening.

Today, my world slipped away.  I have fought tooth and nail for my marriage for 8 long, exhausting months, with everything I had in me.

When Dan left, he didn't just take the money in the bank accounts, he took all of my hopes and dreams, all of the plans we had made. 

Any feeling of self-worth that I ever possessed.

Gone. 

Everything is gone.

How can anyone do that to someone they claim to love and care so much for?  Someone you vowed to be faithful and honor for the rest of your life...how is that okay?

So what now?

Since the beginning of this ordeal nightmare, I have told everyone who would listen, that I planned on fighting til the end, and that's exactly what I did.  I put so much faith and hope and prayer into believing that before it ended, he would snap out of this as easily as he made the decision to walk out.  I tried to be patient, as hard as it was.

And here we are...divorce granted.

What started as an amazingly close-knit family of 5 just months ago, is now Daniel...and the devastation left behind, 4 broken people left to pick up the pieces, 3 sweet, innocent children, suffering, confused, hurt.

Why??  Why do bad things happen to good people? 

What did we do to deserve this?

I was raised in a broken home. I put so much into my marriage so that my children would not have to go through what I did growing up.

And I failed.  Miserably. 

Everything I have ever tried to protect my children from, all of the heartache and the pain...and here we are.

Why can't people keep their promises?  Why is it that when someone uses the words "lifetime commitment" it really means "until I'm tired of you?"

How can you choose to hurt such innocent children that want nothing more than to have a dad in their life to love?  How can their feelings not matter?  What kind of monster can look into their eyes and just walk away?

And who on earth could support someone like that?




All of my life, even into adulthood, I longed to have a close extended family.  I come from a family of 5 children, but I only speak to one sibling on a regular basis.  I haven't spoken to my father in years.  I can count on my hands how many times I have seen him my entire life.  My mom and I speak a couple of times a year, usually on holidays, and mostly by text.  None of my kids know my father and if they saw my mom walking through the grocery store, they probably wouldn't recognize her.

I didn't want my kids to grow up that way.

When I met Dan and saw how close his family was with one another, it was amazing.  They had a big extended family, they got together on all the holidays, they had family dinners.

They would sit around the living room singing Christmas carols, playing the piano, guitar etc. I used to joke with him that they were the real-life Partridge family, they had it all together.

This is what I had always dreamed of having for my kids.

When I became part of Dan's family, I was thrilled that my kids would get to grow up in that environment, feeling like they actually mattered.

And now we're back to square one...

I always thought by this time, if it really came down to divorce, I would have some idea of what to do next.

I don't.

Maybe I was in denial, maybe it was wishful thinking. 

I'm a good person, I work at a church for crying out loud, God was supposed to save me from this, right?  He was supposed to make Dan do the right thing and honor his marriage vows and his commitment to his family. 

At least in a perfect world.

That isn't the case though.


Here I am, left to pick up the pieces.  I have no idea where to start.  I'm afraid of the future, I hurt more than I thought one person was supposed to be capable of, I am weak.

This is where the healing begins, doesn't it?

I wish I could believe it.

I don't think I can ever recover from the hurt I have experienced the past 8-9 months.  If the one person who I trusted more than anything, leaned on, opened up to about every aspect of my life, could do this to me, and not turn back, then I have no hope for the rest of humanity.  Is there really such thing as a "good person?"

I'll believe it when I see it.

Unfortunately, even if I thought it were possible, healing isn't even attainable at this point.

There is still much more heartache, confusion and fear to come.

Sometime in the near future, I will have to pack up my home and leave all of the memories behind.

The first night we slept in this house, we had no furniture with us and the kids were in Texas.

It was just Dan, myself, a few blankets and fire going in the fireplace, three days before he deployed to Iraq.  It remains one of the most memorable nights of my life.

I brought Kaylee home from the hospital to this house.  I watched as she learned to crawl, sign, and take her first steps. 

This home holds more memories than most photo albums.

I'm scared to leave.  I am scared to forget.

I don't want to go. 

We were supposed to be moving out of here as a family, making new memories as we went, not leaving my marriage and all of the memories we created in our home.

I can't do this.

Where do I go? How do I find a place to live, big enough for all 4 of us and cheap enough for my budget of...essentially nothing?  How do we get around after I am made to surrender my sole source of transportation to Dan because I can't afford the payments?

How is any of this okay??

I will never understand how somebody can do such awful things.  I've gone over this in my head thousands of times and I just can't comprehend what it would take for somebody to think they are justified in destroying a family and leaving them to pick up the pieces.

I am so tired of hurting. 

I don't know how I have survived since October 27th...only by prayer, hope, and faith that everything would be okay.


But it's not.


And I am not.


I used to think I was strong. I'm not.

I want to be a coward, I want to hide in a corner.  I want to take my kids and run away and start a new life in a place where nobody knows us.

I just want to be okay, is that really so much to ask?  Haven't I gone through enough?

This kind of thing only happens in movies, so where is my happy ending?

I want my life back. I want to wake up from this nightmare.  Please...





In 5 days, June 13th, we would be celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary.

For those of you who pray, please do.  It's going to be a very difficult day to get through.








Friday, June 1, 2012

Shopping with a baby!


Meet Bob.


Bob is a shopping cart that LOVES to help out with your trip to the grocery store.  See how happy it makes him??

The only things Bob loves more than shopping...are BABIES!!


Bob is super excited to help this family get groceries...but wait, what is this...??  Bob is not happy...
You see, Bob took a class on car seat safety.  He knows that putting an infant carrier on the top of shopping cart can be very VERY dangerous.

Bob has heard every excuse in the book as to why people put their infant carriers in the top of the shopping cart, even when they have been told time and time again that it was unsafe.

Bob also knows that anecdotal evidence doesn't get you very far in life.  Just because somewhere down the line, somebody survived this


it doesn't make their choices any less idiotic and it DOES NOT mean that it's a good idea for you to do it as well.


So...without further ado, let's go over some reasons why putting a carrier in the top of a cart is not a safe choice.

Reason #1

Strollers and infant car seat bases are made so that when they are holding a car seat, the recline angle is between 30 and 45 degrees so that the baby A. is upright enough to be protected in a car accident and B. not too upright that it obstructs their ability to breathe.

(Humor me/use your imagination, do whatever it takes to pretend this looks like a car seat)

However, if I had a dime for how many times I was walking through the grocery store and saw this...


well, I'd have a lot of dimes.  When the carrier is not at a correct recline angle, the baby's oxygen can be cut off if they are in the carrier for a prolonged period.

**DISCLAIMER** If you don't see anything wrong with the above picture, stop what you are doing, go sit on the couch, prop your legs up on the back cushions and lean back to watch tv for the next hour...then come back and let me know how you feel and how easy it was for you to breathe.



Reason #2 
 Having an infant seat on the top of the cart makes it top heavy. Something as simple as rounding a corner too quickly can flip the entire shopping cart over.

Reason #3
While it's already hard to see what is in front of you when you are pushing a shopping cart, adding an infant car seat that sticks up an extra 12+ inches makes it impossible.  You never know what you'll run into or run over when your view is obstructed.


You did it now...you killed Kenny. (while I have never seen South park myself, it was re-enacted one too many times in middle school so it is now permanently etched in my head)

 Reason #4
Even if your car seat appears to click (because I hear that all the time... "well mine fits, it even latches on"), it was not made to be up there, it was only made to "click" onto a stroller or car seat base. A small jolt is sometimes enough to un-latch it from the cart and have the entire carrier flip over onto the floor in a matter of seconds.  See a real example here.


Reason #5
Since it was NOT made to fit on a cart, trying to get it to latch on anyway could damage the mechanism that makes it attach to your car seat base. You won't notice that it is defective it until you are flying down the highway and get into a wreck and your child's seat is ejected through the front windshield. However, by then it will be too late.


(pretty self explanatory, I'll spare you yet another of my beautiful drawings)




Reason #6
.Every car seat manufacturer specifically says NOT to do it, so why not listen?





So...let's recap.

Regardless of who has done it and who's kids "were fine," when they did it, doesn't mean it's safe.  That's skewed logic.

You could potentially be setting up your child to have a difficult time breathing during your trip to the grocery store.

Your cart becomes top heavy, it could flip! 

A car seat never actually latches on to a cart.

You could damage the latching mechanism and not find out until the seat doesn't perform in crash.

All car seat manufacturers warn against it.


So...what are your other options?




Put your baby's car seat IN THE CART, not ON IT. This is a sure fire way to make Bob super happy!

OR (my personal favorite)

You can always wear your baby!






Monday, May 7, 2012

One of these days...

One of these days... I will smile because I want to, not just because I feel like I am supposed to.

One of these days... I will laugh because I am happy, not just to avoid an awkward situation.

One of these days... I will not need you there to feel complete.

One of these days... I will get out of bed because I am eager to begin a new day, not because I have kids begging me to get up.

One of these days... I will be able to go a few hours without crying over you.

One of these days... being alone will finally feel normal or at least I'll be numb to the pain.

One of these days... I will be proud of myself and won't find my worth only in the eyes of another person.

One of these days... I will be more than just a mom, I'll also be me.

One of these days... I will sleep through an entire night without nightmares or tossing and turning, fearing somebody is going to break in and there is nobody here to protect us.

One of these days... I won't miss you.

One of these days... I will be okay.



But not today.

How long does it take?  When does it feel okay to not have someone there to support you through all of your endeavors?  Will it ever?  Life seems so pointless when you have nobody to live it with, nobody to hold your hand and tell you it will be fine.  How am I ever supposed to finally be okay with the fact that my life will never be what I want and it's not even my fault?  How is it fair that somebody else has the power to make such life changing decisions for you without your consent?  I'm doing horribly in school (for me) because I can't think straight.  It seems like it was the biggest mistake to go back, clearly I wasn't ready to add on to my workload.  Then again, if I quit now, I will be a failure at yet another thing.

I don't need sympathy, I need to be okay.  Why can't I just be okay??

I made this slideshow for Dan back in January I believe.  I honestly don't know if he even ever watched it, but I've probably watched it enough for the both of us.
It is basically the best, most fulfilling, 3 years of my life in a 20 minute video.



 The blog post I made a few months ago was picked up by Yahoo! after I combined it into a single article. I'd like to think Dan would be proud, he always encouraged me to chase my dreams and do things I enjoyed.  If you haven't gotten the chance to read it yet and are interested, here it is.





Monday, April 9, 2012

I miss you.



His smile, his ability to make ME smile- even when I'm mad at him, watching him play with the kids, seeing their faces light up just from being around him, stupid little inside jokes that are soooo funny, but really not funny at all, watching trashy teenage sitcoms and being hooked, cuddling on the couch, his singing, his voice in general, his ability to make everything seem so perfect, the way he always found a solution to every problem I had, how he took all my stress away with a hug, feeling like our family was safe at night because he was here to protect us, sweet "I love you" texts, watching him play his guitar, being comfortable around someone, trusting someone with all of my feelings

Everything.

I miss everything about him.

No matter what I've said to him the past few months in response to what he has done to us...nothing can change how much I love him and miss him.

That's the hardest part of all. I want to hate him, I want to see pictures of him and cringe and never want to see his face again.

But I can't. I just can't make myself forget how happy he made me.

Today was a bad day. I was cleaning the car out and found and old SD card so I plugged it into my phone and there were tons of pictures and videos from Kaylee's first few months, and everything came rushing back. There he was again, the perfect dad, the perfect husband, just like I remembered.

Then tonight I accidentally click on the skype icon on my laptop screen and it signs me in automatically. There is his name on top, just like it's always been. I can't help but click it and at the bottom it shows a place where you can see recent messages, so I look.

Big mistake.

Thirty minutes later and I have the biggest grin on my face like a little kid and tears streaming down my face. Things were great, everything was so great.

He still makes me smile.

The way things are now and the feelings I feel are all that I had prepared myself for if something ever happened to him in Iraq and all I had left of him were pictures and letters.

But he's not dead, he's choosing to be gone.

How can anyone choose to be gone?

I don't want to miss him like I do, I don't want fantasize over him being home, I just can't help it.

He has missed so much...

...Not limited to Avery locking herself in her room crying about him and begging him to come home:



If I could just go back in time...



when I was still living my fairytale...



I'd give up everything I have.

These pictures were taken the last time he actually lived at home with us:





and this is our sweet baby girl now, 10 months later:









So many missed opportunities to make memories, so many days you can never get back.

And it's the kids that end up suffering the most because they just don't understand.






Neither do I.

I miss you.